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"Badassery in writing is something else altogether: a willingness to be unprotected, thoughtful, inventive, open—but also in control. The badassery of the disability perspective is that it forces a destabilization of the status quo…"
—Shelia Black, Poet & Co-editor of Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability
In this generative workshop, we will explore the intersection between disability and poetry. Too often, we as disabled people are viewed as inspirational for navigating our everyday realities. How do we take up space in a society that doesn’t support us?
While poetry doesn’t take to the streets, it can protest. While poetry may not always change one’s perspective, it can witness hard truths. As your instructor, I want to honor all our experiences and truths. I was born with cerebral palsy and use a power chair. If you have a different disability or don’t identify as disabled, how do I honor you and your experiences? With poetry. I invite participants to use provided examples as a springboard for new poems, new perspectives, and new discussions.
Poets and disability activists to be read and discussed include Mia Mingus, Stacey Park Milbern, Kay Ulanday Barret, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Rebakah Taussig, Laura Hershey and Judy Heuman, along with whoever you consider inspiring in the most badass sense of the word. Although this workshop is disability-centric, all are welcome. Join me in solidarity and in celebration!
Sarah Rizzuto holds a Masters in English as well as a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University. She has taught Disability Studies, a course she developed through Women and Gender Studies at SCSU. Sarah is the former president of the CT Poetry Society’s New Haven chapter. She’s been published in Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature as well as Kaleidoscope magazine. Sarah hopes to publish her first chapbook soon, which honors her father’s life. Along with being a poet, she considers herself an advocate for social justice.
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